Deliver Me from the Sin of Bad Manners


You say, “Wait a minute. I thought sin had to do with violating God’s laws?”

And you are right. According to The Oxford Essential Dictionary, sin is breaking a divine or a moral law. Those laws include the Ten Commandments. You shall not steal. Honor your father and mother. You shall not commit adultery, or you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Violate these and you definitely sin. The entire list of commandments can be found in Deuteronomy 5:6-21.

But what about offenses against good taste and propriety? This is the second definition of sin listed in the Oxford Essential Dictionary. It’s also an offense that goes against good manners. So what are manners? It’s a social behavior: The way things are done or the way things happen.

I have a lot of pet peeves. Most fall under the category of  bad manners. My number-one complaint is men cursing or using foul language in the presence of women. This violation may not offend many of today’s women. They might say to me, “Wake up, Old Timer. We live in the 21st Century.”

So all I can say is excuse me, for I was born in the middle of the 20th century (1950). Back then, cursing in a woman’s presence was a sign that a man did not respect her. During my childhood men who cursed or used profanity in the presence of women were not respected. It was a sign of no class or a lack of home training. There was, and still is not, anything manly or sexy about men using profane language in the presence of women. So forgive me if I am old fashioned. I am older and grew up in a different (and I believe better) time. A lot of men — and women — need to have their mouths regularly washed out with soap!

At this time I am incarcerated at the federal prison camp in Atlanta, Ga. It is at this prison where I regularly see the second greatest display of bad manners or no manners at all: The wearing of hats or caps inside buildings. At first I concluded it must be raining inside. No man would wear his hat inside a building. But I was wrong. These men have not been taught this or else they’ve forgotten what they were taught. “Take that hat off.” “I will confiscate that cap if you do not take it off.” These are statements I hear throughout the day from guards confronting inmates about wearing their hats inside the prison buildings.

What amazes me is the attitude of the prisoners. Some are indignant. They can not understand why they are not allowed to wear hats inside. I’ll tell you why. Yes, it’s bad manners. There is no reason to cover your head inside. It shows a lack of respect. It’s a bad reflection on your home training. It’s a bad reflection on you and your character. So guys, take off the hats.

Again some will say, “It’s just the rantings of some old guy.” I fall back on my only defense. Your honor, I was born too early. I grew up in a home where my relatives demanded hats be worn outside only. The movies of my day always showed men taking their hats off, except if they worked on a farm and were entering a barn. They also tipped their hats in the presence of women.

My last pet peeve for article has to do with the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner,” our national anthem. How many times do we see at sporting and entertainment events people who show no respect for the singing of the national anthem? People playing, joking around, right hand not over their hearts, or people not singing or even standing. They do not honor or respect themselves, so they do not honor or respect their country.

The most horrible violation is those who do not know the song. Please, if you don’t know it, take a few minutes to learn our national anthem. Then stand, put your right hand over your heart, look in the direction of the flag, and sing this great song. Honor yourselves and honor America.

And you will make this Old Timer happy.

I hope all of you have a happy 2014, and God bless America.


You can email Bernard Addison at, and he will answer any questions you have or reply if you just want a comment. He is serving 46 months for Federal  Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud. Also, you can send your questions or comments by postal-mail to: Bernard Addison/ 44863-074/ FPC-Atlanta; Dorm D/ P.O. Box 150160/ Atlanta, GA 30315


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